Friday, November 15, 2013

Davis v. Commonwealth case brief

Davis v. Commonwealth case brief summary
110 S.E. 356 (1922)

Defendant appealed her conviction from the Corporation Court of the City of Newport News (Virginia) for burglary.

Defendant was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of a property owner and stealing money belonging to a tenant, who occupied a room in the house. Defendant was convicted of burglary. She appealed.


  • The court reversed, holding that the Commonwealth failed to show that there was a "breaking" within the meaning applied to the offense of burglary. 
  • A breaking, either actual or constructive, had to result in an entrance contrary to the will of the occupier of the house. 
  • However, the owner and the tenant both relayed that defendant was a close friend and that she had a key to the house. 
  • Defendant had the right to enter the premises that was as free as the tenant herself. 
  • The testimony from the owner and the tenant conclusively established that defendant did not break and enter the house. 
  • Thus, she could not be convicted of the alleged burglary.

The court reversed defendant's conviction and awarded a new trial.

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